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Channel 4 Paras Production Training Scheme - Welcome to Bootcamp..!

Danielle Watkeys, a trainee Production Coordinator working in North One Television's Birmingham office tells us about bootcamp and her first week at work...

A welcome like no other, entering our TV careers via Channel 4’s Paras Production Training Scheme has been a whirlwind of excitement, with such a unique opportunity. Both apprehension and excitement filled the WhatsApp group chat, a nice touch to give us support even before landing in Loughborough for our first three action packed days.  

On arrival, congratulations and an outline of plans for the next 12 months and a chance to find out where each of this year’s trainees would be employed, as well as a welcome to the Channel 4 family from 4Talent’s Laura Boswell. We were instantly thrown into tasks and learning the all-important do’s and don’ts. I started crafting my new notebook, (which I have no doubt will be a well shielded and possibly very tatty resource for years to come) filling it with such valuable info from the experts.

We had some great guest speakers and experts in the industry come in, including Alec McPhedran who guided us through how to get the best from the opportunity in mentoring and building relationships – making an already advantageous start, an even more exciting one. After our first three days, we moved from the Burleigh Court Conference Centre to London, where we would spend our final two days meeting more industry leaders and learning some of the crafts and intricacies involved in television, future plans with C4’s Head of Sport Peter Andrews and Whisper TV’s Andy Stephenson who filled us with excitement during their talk of Paralympics! My personal favourite; scheduling – an analytical art with Channel 4’s scheduling master Philip Stagg. The week rounded off nicely with hearing from the schemes graduates, evening drinks at C4 HQ, headshots and final Q’s & A’s with legends Sam and Edi before they wished us well in starting our placements the following Monday.

In a well-timed entrance, I made my way to North One Television to begin my first 12 months as production coordinator, where post-production is ongoing meaning a quiet office and a great time to ask questions as well as learn the structure of the teams and how they produce some of the world’s most loved content! Having learnt from previous scheme graduates Becky Cant and Charlotte Birch, I was in good stead and began work on vital production elements at a calm pace before finding out from my line manager that I would be going to work in the studio for The Gadget Show to bulk up my experience ahead of the impending pre-production excitement. 

An opportunity like none experienced before, I am so grateful to have been selected to be a part of a scheme where I already feel I belong, working alongside some of the experts who have provided us all with incredible content that gets us talking! 

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